Grants for The Arts Clinic

A Grants for The Arts Funding Clinic takes place in St Helens on Wednesday, July 5th.

This session is ideal for artists, creatives, producers, and organisations in the borough.

Grants for the Arts is Arts Council England’s open access funding programme for individuals, art organisations and other people who use the arts in their work. They offer awards from £1000 to £100,000 to support a wide variety of arts-related activities, from dance to visual arts, literature to theatre, music to combined arts.

We will be joined Anna Hassan (Relationship Manager – Engagement & Audience) and Angela Chappell (Relationship Manager – Combined Arts), who will provide information about the scheme and how to apply, offering valuable advice and answering any questions you might have. Information about one-to-one surgery sessions will follow soon.

Click here to book

Second conference focuses on key topics

More than 100 people came to St Helens in May for second With For About conference held by Heart of Glass and AxisWeb.

The conference, titled With For About: Art, Activism & Community, took place at Friends Meeting House 16 invited speakers leading the discussion.

The audience joined them to explore three conversations on the fierce and urgent questions facing collaborative and social art today. Beyond the Rhetoric, On Collaboration and Solidarity and Action were all topics for the day with guests travelling from across Europe to attend.

Patrick Fox, Director of Heart of Glass, explained: “Using a series of statements as provocations by leading thinkers in the field, we explored collaboration, language and our role as artists, producers and commissioners in an ever-changing socio-political landscape.”

“Our programme is rooted in collaborative and social practice and embodies the principle of partnership. Our core value, philosophy and approach is founded on co-production with the community and the active participation of the collaborator, non-artist, audience and viewer, in the creation of great art. People both individually and within communities of place or interest, are central to both our thinking and our practice.”

“We partnered with Chrissie Tiller, idle women and Axisweb to produce the even and feel moments like this are an important part of our ongoing work, creating a space for debate and reflection, a critical space in which to examine our work, and the work of others internationally with a view to professionally developing our practice.”

Roaming singing performances hit all the right notes

More than 150 people stepped into song on George Street in St Helens over the weekend to watch a promenade performance by a group of untrained male singers from St Helens.

Composer Verity Standen created the new roaming, choral experience specifically for St Helens, due to the historic significance the town has with conscientious objection.

St Helens was the home of school teacher, Ernest Everett who was arrested due to his refusal to undertake combative service in 1916.

He was court-martialed and sentenced to two years’ hard labour, the first conscientious objector to receive such a sentence. Over the next few years, he was sentenced seven more times.

In Refrain, Everett’s story, symbolic of many more cases of this kind, was given voice once again by local men.

The participants, who were recruited through taster sessions, led audiences on four shows over the weekend (May 20th & 21st) from The Masonic Hall along George Street to The Friends Meeting House.

Olly Ford, a participant from St Helens, said: “It was quite surreal but very cool. Sometimes you’d be walking through town on the day to day and you’d see the streets. Then to actually be involved in a performance amongst these streets is really nice.”

Suzanne Dempsey Sawin, of Heart of Glass, said: “It was a pleasure to see the hard work and talent of the participants and Verity come to fruition over the weekend.

“I found the performances were very moving and the audience feedback has reflected this. The George Street Quarter came alive in a truly unique way, and it was great to work with two historic St Helens sites.”

Verity Standen is an award-winning artist, composer and choir leader, whose unique work with voices has surprised and enchanted audiences around the UK and internationally. From intimate concerts to immersive theatrical experiences, Verity’s work seeks to reimagine how audiences experience vocal music. Refrain is her most ambitious project to date.

Refrain is produced by Situations with Verity Standen Projects, in partnership with English Heritage, Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts and Heart of Glass, St. Helens. It is generously supported by Arts Council England, the Jerwood Charitable Foundation, Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, The Space and Heritage Lottery Fund.

Photos by Wesley Storey courtesy of Situations.


2020 Vision launch event

Heart of Glass is delighted to announce the launch of 2020 Vision, a new project by Sophie Mahon in collaboration with young people from across St Helens.

Artist Sophie has been artist in residence for the last six months in St Helens, working with young people in Parr, Finger Post and Four Acre.

2020 Vision is a project exploring the future of our world through the perspective of young people in St Helens. The exhibition showcases a number of artworks relating to the past and present and explores the best and worst possible narratives for the future.

The project is a partnership between Heart of Glass and Helena Homes Make It Happen project, and supported through our participation in the Creative Europe funded Collaborative Arts Partnership programme (CAPP).

Over the course of six months Sophie developed workshops with St Helens Youth Service, Wild Card Amateur Boxing Club, St Cuthbert’s Catholic High School, St Augustine’s of Canterbury Catholic High School, The Sutton Academy, Free Runners Derbyshire Hill Family Centre, Parr Library, Chester Lane Library, Holy Trinity Church and 818 group; bringing together a group of young collaborators with whom she has developed the project.

Join us for the 2020 Vision Launch Event this Thursday May 4th 4pm – 6.30pm


St Mary’s Market (former CelebLook shop),

6 Brownlow Arcade (Church Street entrance), St Helens, WA10 1AG

Exhibition dates

Friday May 5th – Sunday May 21st

Opening times

Monday to Saturday – 11.30am – 5.30pm Sundays 12pm – 4pm


Heart of Glass is an agency for collaborative and social arts practice based in St Helens



Artist opportunity in St Helens


The Convivialist* Toolbox

Workshop for artists who work with or are interested in working with communities of place / interest

28th Feb 2017

10.30 – 17.00

Heart of Glass Workspace, Water Street, St Helens WA10 1PP

Led by Berlin based Artist Susanne Bosch



One day working on our convivialist* toolbox
With various artistic experiments and formats we will explore the nature of our interdependency and what every individual brings to the table. The day offers open space between workshop, practice, constructive dispute, action and re-action. Experts of the everyday – as all participants are – are invited to share their knowledge and questions. We start the day at an agreed time, but will leave the end open for formats to emerge from the process. If one idea manifests in reality afterwards, a convivialist contribution has been made. A reporting back of manifested ideas and a documentation is highly welcomed. We are interested in the consequences of the NOW for TOMORROW. The toolbox day offers an experimental format of approaching a human, societal or globally urgent topic.

convivialist* from the Latin ‘con-vivere’, to live together. The term is meant to point up the fact that the main task we face is that of working out a new philosophy and developing practical forms of peaceful interaction.

Susanne Bosch is an artist and independent researcher. She received a PhD “Learning for Civil Society Through Participatory Public Art” from the University of Ulster in Belfast in 2012. From 2007-2012, she developed and led the Art in Public MA at the University of Ulster in Belfast, together with artist Dan Shipsides. As an “interface activist”, Susanne practices internationally in public art projects asking questions about long-term issues, and building creative arguments around the ideas of democracy and sustainable futures. Her art often involves the issues of money such as the Restpfennigaktion (Left-over Penny Campaign), Germany, 1998-2002, Initizativa Centesimo Avanzato, PAN, Naples, Italy, 2008-2009 and Hucha de Deseos, Madrid Abierto, 2010-2011; migration- examples are the video My European Family 2012, Athens and Kassel, Germany, The Prehistory of Crisis II, Belfast and Dublin, 2009 and societal visions and participation models such as Cities Exhibition, Birzeit University Museum, Palestine 2012-13, Das Gute Leben, Glücklich kommt von Selbermachen,Bregenz, Austria 2014, Dies ist Morgen, Kunsthalle Osnabrück, Germany 2015, Utopisten und Weltenbauer, Dortmund, Germany 2015, Das Mögliche im Sein, Götzis, Austria, 2015. Susanne develops site- and situation-specific interventions, installations, videos, drawings, and audio as well as dialogical formats. In her artistic research, as editor fo publications and as facilitator, she works with formats such as writing and workshops. She is trained in Open Space and Art of Hosting facilitation (2008, 2014), as well as conflict transformation (2004) and systemic constellation work (2014). Susanne has been working internationally and is currently the independent research fellow in the Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme (CAPP), a European partner network of six countries from 2015-2018.

Tickets: £10 per person

Book Now

Limited free places are available to artists in the following Creative People & Places areas: St Helens, Dewsbury, Blackpool and Burnley as of The Faculty, a joint initiative by four Creative People and Places funded projects based in the North of England.  The Faculty was born out of a recognition of the limited professional development opportunities available to artists and creative practitioners within the identified geographic areas, but also within the context of social arts practice more broadly.

Current Partners:

  • Heart of Glass
  • Super Slow Way
  • Creative Scene
  • LeftCoast

The Invisible City – unique cinema event this November


Heart of Glass is excited to announce The Invisible City, a unique cinematic event coming to St Helens this Autumn.

On Saturday, November 12th we will present an site specific cinema event, in collaboration with Abandon Normal Devices (AND) and Alexandra Park (St Helens) Management Limited, the former Pilkington Glass headquarters.

Featuring the granddaddy of surveillance films Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window and the world premiere of a new short film by artist Liam Young, this cinematic event will use the historical home of glass to explore contemporary responses to technology and transparency.

The main event will consist of a film programme, with a choice of viewing options including ‘drive-in’ and ‘viewing gallery’; and quasi-fictional tours of the Pilkington HQ, which will flatten distinctions between famous and forgotten, public and private spaces in the building. The glass fronted office complex will be the backdrop to ask questions related to transparency and invisibility in our society today.


In the days leading up to the main event there will be the opportunity to attend a choice of three themed film screenings in the former Pilkington Glass Board Room for a small audience, featuring landmark counter-surveillance films The Conversation, and Red Road with more titles to be announced.

Patrick Fox, Director of Heart of Glass, said: “The event will be a unique opportunity to see the former Pilkington site from a different perspective, including the chance to take a tour that includes areas never before seen by the public. We have a fantastic programme of work on offer, and we’re excited to animate this iconic site in a new and exciting way”

Gabrielle Jenks, Director of Abandon Normal Devices, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Heart of Glass in St Helens. We’ve been collaborating closely with the partners and artists over the last year, with the aim of creating a project that will engage audiences in the landscape that surrounds them. In November, we transform Alexandra Park into a home for sonic and cinematic espionage for a night of surveillance cinema.”




Film Programme
Doors open – 7pm
General Tickets – Full Price £6 / Concession Price £4
Drive-In Tickets £12 Per Car

Rear Window (Dir. Alfred Hitchcock / 1954 / cert. PG)

James Stewart and Grace Kelly star in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller, which explores the role of the voyeur. After breaking his leg during a shoot, photo-journalist L.B. ‘Jeff’ Jeffries (Stewart) is forced to spend a humid summer recuperating in his Greenwich Village apartment. Wheelchair-bound he spies on his neighbours from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder. Suspenseful, witty and at times funny, this is a film is as much about the audiences complicity as it is the protagonists.

Where the City Can’t See (Dir. Liam Young / 2016)

Commissioned by AND, directed by Liam Young and written by sci-fi author Tim Maughan, Where the City Can’t See is set in a not-too-distant future where Google maps, urban management systems and CCTV surveillance are not only mapping our cities, but ruling them. More info











Hacked Circuit (Dir. Deborah Strapman / 2014)

A single-shot, choreographed portrait of the Foley process, revealing multiple layers of fabrication and imposition. While portraying sound artists at work, typically invisible support mechanisms of filmmaking are exposed, as are, by extension and quotation, governmental violations of individual privacy.

The scene being foleyed is from The Conversation where Gene Hackman’s character Harry Caul tears apart his room – the look of Caul’s apartment mirrors the visual chaos of the Foley stage. This mirroring is also evident in the dual portraits of sonic espionage expert Caul and Foley artist Gregg Barbanell, for whom professionalism is marked by an invisibility of craft.

Hacked Circuit_web_only










Artist-led Tours

Tickets FREE, but booking is essential

During the day (November 12th) there will be a number of unique tours of the former Pilkington Glass HQ, led by artist Michelle Browne. Focussing on themes of transparency, invisibility and labour, they will look at the manufacturing of glass as a way to explore urban transformation, memory and labour.

Michelle Browne is an artist and curator based in Dublin, Ireland. She studied Sculpture at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin and is currently completing a Masters in Fine Art at the Dutch Art Institute in Arnhem, Holland. Much of her work is performance based and collaborative and she has performed and exhibited both nationally and internationally. Find out more at

How to Book

Bookings for all the film screenings – on 12 November and Board Room Screenings – and for the Artist Led Tours, can be done at Eventbrite.


Visit the Alexandra Park venue page for the address, location and directions.


The Invisible City is curated and produced by Heart of Glass and Abandon Normal Devices, in partnership with Alexandra Park (St Helens) Management Limited. This project is supported by Arts Council England and Film Hub North West Central, proud to be a member of the BFI Film Audience Network.











Muhammad Ali and Me

A new show performed in memory and celebration of Muhammad Ali is coming to St Helens for one night only.

Muhammad Ali and Me is the critically acclaimed coming-of- age story of a black girl growing up in foster care, and her fantastical friendship with the legendary, Muhammad Ali.

The performance takes place at Derbyshire Hill Youth Centre, Derbyshire Hill Road, St Helens on Tuesday, October 25th at 7pm. Tickets are free, but must be booked in advance on Eventbrite.




Muhammad Ali & Me

“Muhammad Ali and me have one thing in common: we were Black in the seventies.”

This new production from the makers of Time Out Critics’ Choice Moj of the Antarctic tells the story of a young Black girl growing up in care and her fantastical friendship with the legendary Muhammad Ali.


Derbyshire Hill Youth Centre, Derbyshire Hill Road, St Helens

Tuesday, October 25th, 7pm

Age: 11 +


Muhammad Ali and Me is the critically acclaimed coming-of-age story of a young black girl growing up in foster care and her fantastical friendship with the legendary, Muhammad Ali.

Ali was always full of surprises. He danced in the boxing ring, rapped at press conferences, recited poetry in TV interviews, preached Islam from the back of a Cadillac and invoked revolution in a generation.

In the spirit of Ali, Muhammad Ali and Me is a rich, ‘beautifully rendered’ (What’s On Stage) production full of wonder told through poetry, dance, boxing, African acapella singing, audience interaction and integrated British Sign Language. Ali himself makes a guest appearance through verbatim text and original fight footage, with cartoon animation, pyrotechnics, magic tricks and a superb eclectic 1970’s sound track.

‘As a piece of stagecraft, an entertaining kaleidoscope of social and political history, only one description will do: this is a play that ‘floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee.’ WHAT’S ON STAGE ★★★★

This show has a knockout stage design courtesy of Rajha Shakiry. Adebayo, who plays both Ali and the girl, is quite a performer: she can also charm your socks off when she wants to. Charlie Folorunsho makes an impressive foil…The ambition is huge. You couldn’t ask for more. TIMEOUT

A must-see for Ali fans.’ AFRIDIZIAK ★★★★

Muhammad Ali and Me is designed for both deaf and hearing audiences. Jacqui Bedford’s character performs in British Sign Language.

DIY Weekend sees shoppers engaged in live art




Live Art hit the streets of St Helens in July when Hunt and Darton rolled into town to tell us “we’re not local”

The artists duo charmed the locals and attracted huge numbers of visitors to their pop up art café last year. They recently returned with some new faces to take part in the Live Art Development Agency DIY 13, a weekend of combined professional development projects by artists for artists across the UK.

Hunt & Darton offered artists the chance to apply to join them on a whistle stop visit to St Helens. The successful artists joined forces for two days, beginning with a workshop before visiting some of the town’s favourite haunts and finally presenting new work to unsuspecting shoppers in Church Square.

The theme of ‘local’ and creating work for new audiences laid the backdrop for the work and artists had the tough task of engaging busy shoppers. They were encouraged to write down phrases they’d overheard in St Helens, take part in a narrative card game, make friends with an American tourist and pose for a photograph with a story telling stranger.


The new work created a real buzz around the town centre with the former Hunt & Darton Café window full of quotes and many locals pulled out a seat to take part.

Suzanne Dempsey Sawin, Heart of Glass Assistant Producer said “It was a real joy to have Hunt and Darton back and to welcome new and exciting artists to the area. We hosted a lunch time social, which was a great opportunity to introduce the artists to locals, and they spent a lot of time visiting local businesses. The performances felt very at home in Church Square and brought a real buzz to the usual Saturday afternoon shop.

The leaders of the event believed the preparation of the work was the key to its success.

Jenny Hunt, said: “We found leading the workshop together and identifying each others strengths in terms of leadership really useful. We also learnt more about performing to local people, and performing in places that are not local to you and the concerns and celebrations around this. We also learnt a lot from our participants.

“Our love of public performance was re-enforced. We want to do more in St Helens.”

Church Square Shopping Centre manager Steven Brogan said: “I am so pleased that the Heart of Glass project was able to return to the shopping centre, and with such an unusual project by the artists.
“It really got people talking about  what was going on in the town centre, and wanting to be part of the event. Congratulations to all those involved in such a creative initiative.”

DIY was an opportunity for artists working in Live Art to conceive and run unusual training and professional development projects for other artists.  DIY 13 included 20 projects, supported by 20 partner organisations.


Family Art Club Update


Free Event

Saturday 16 July 2016

Central Library, St Helens

from 11.30am for 13-19 year olds

12.30-3pm for families

Lead Artist: Lucy Gell

Try your hand at printing a comic strip, guided by Printmaker and Illustrator Lucy Gell.  Be inspired by her mischievous animal characters and by themes from Roald Dahl’s stories as the Summer Reading Challenge gets underway.

Lucy Gell used to animate puppets for children’s programmes….then she discovered PRINTMAKING!  She likes to show her love of animals in her work through her images of cheeky cats and dogs, adventurous bears and friendly birds.


Hunt & Darton are coming back to St Helens!

Hunt and Darton Image-2

Everyone’s favourite out of towners Hunt & Darton are coming back to St Helens this summer.

Hunt & Darton, a collaboration between Jenny Hunt & Holly Darton, wowed the town with their pop up art café in Church Square last year.

The duo is rolling in to St Helens again this July to offer artists working in Live Art the opportunity to take part in an unusual training and professional development project.

You’re Not Local is part of DIY 13, a Live Arts Development Agency scheme offering a set of professional development opportunities conceived and run by artists for artists. We are delighted to welcome back Hunt & Darton to work with artists from around the country.

They are now on the search for performers from the local area and beyond to take part in the artist led DIY project.



Jenny Hunt, explained:

“You’re Not Local is about becoming local – contextualising work for a place or context in which you don’t necessarily belong.”

“It’s for artists interested in genuinely socially engaged public work, performing on the streets of St Helens, directly to people who didn’t necessarily know they wanted to see it.”

The project takes place from Thursday, July 7th to Saturday, July 9th in the town centre.

To apply please submit a 500-word expression of interest in participating in You’re Not Local, documentation of recent work (up to 5 images saved as a PDF and/or links to online documentation), and an answer to the following question:

Please describe your current practice and relevant achievements / failures to date?  


Application deadline


14 June 2016, 5pm


Any questions?



Please note that all applications must be done via the online form, rather than being emailed direct to DIY artists.